Thursday, August 7, 2014

Alaskan Rockfish.White Balsamic Herbed Butter Reduction.

If you are in the Des Moines area, I hope you order meat from Wallace Farms.  I love having accessing to grass fed meats and quality seafood.

The last couple of orders I have selected some of the Wild Alaskan Rock Fish...and it is heavenly.  It's mild and can be cooked a variety of ways...although I have yet to try a smoked version...hmmm.

Anyway,  during my monthly trip to Williams Sonoma I discovered a new surprise as well.  They now carry a white balsamic vinegar that honestly is one of the BEST I have ever had.  And I can assure you, I have had a lot.  I love the complexity of balsamic vinegars, the fruitiness, the tartness, all the while being smooth on the palate.  A good balsamic is defined not by whether or not it can be dipped, but only if you can sip it like you would a good port or scotch.  

I knew this would work perfectly with the rock fish, and that it did.

Alaskan Rockfish. White Balsamic Herbed Butter Reduction

4 rockfish filets
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 c. white balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. mixed herbs (thyme, basil, chives, italian parsley, tarragon)
1/4 c. butter
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Generously salt and pepper rockfish filets and place in pan.  Cook on each side about 5-7 minutes depending on thickness.  The rockfish will be done when the filet JUST starts to pull apart.

Remove and cover to keep warm and set aside to finish the sauce.  

Increase the heat to high, and add the vinegar and boil until it is reduced by half.  Reduce the heat to medium again and then add the butter, whisking constantly.  Strain the sauce to a container and then add back to the sauté pan.  Add the herbs and salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve over the fish.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Chicken.Spring Vegetables.

It's that lovely time of year when we see an abundance of asparagus and morels at the Farmer's Market and that makes me happy!  Really happy.

{Chicken.Spring Vegetables}

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. asparagus, sliced into 1" pieces
14 oz. artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 lb. morels, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes
2 lb. chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 c. white wine
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. Kerrygold butter
1/4 c. minced chives

First, put sun dried tomatoes in a large enough bowl to hold them and the 1 c. wine.  Add the wine and allow to macerate while you starting cooking.

Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in large sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the shallots and cook until they start to become fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Add the asparagus and continue to cook until the asparagus is crisp tender, about 5-7 minutes. 
Add the artichoke hearts and morels, cooking and stirring for an additional 5 minutes.  Set aside.

In a large fry pan heat remaining 2 tbsp. oil over medium.  Add chicken and cook until the chicken is almost done.  I used chicken pieces that are about a square inch and it take around 12-15 minutes.  

While chicken is cooking, remove tomatoes from wine, reserving wine, and slice thinly.

When the chicken is almost finished, remove to pan with vegetables, and increase the heat to medium high and add the wine.  Reduce by 1/2 and then add the chicken stock, reducing by half again.  Whisk in butter until incorporated.  

Return the vegetables to the pan and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. 

Salt and Pepper to taste and top with minced chives.

You'll fall in love with this dish.  I promise.  In fact, you may even wish you had bread to soak up any remaining sauce!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Perfectly Simple Salmon

Sometimes salmon just needs to be done simply.  

Easy flavors that enhance the flavor without over powering it.

Lemon and parsley will always make it happen.  Always.

Perfectly Simple Salmon

1/2 salmon, cut lengthwise
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. freshly cracked pepper
1 large lemon, sliced into 1/4" thick rounds, zest removed first!
1/2 c. italian parsley minced

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the salmon filet on parchment paper skin side up on a sheet pan.  Salt and pepper with 1/2 tbsp. of each.  Place in oven and cook for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven.  Flip the filet, carefully.   I suggest using two fish spatulas.

Once the salmon is flesh side up, put remainder of salt and pepper evenly on the fish.  Evenly sprinkle the parsley and zest on the fish and then place the lemon slices on.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes depending on thickness of filet.  The thickest part should feel slightly firm.  Similar to the skin in between your thumb and first finger.  However, I prefer my salmon medium, so you may want to cook it more if you don't.

Remove from oven and allow to sit about 10 minutes.

Slice and serve, squeezing cooked lemon over the top if you enjoy a little more lemon flavor!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Roasted Broccoli with Dried Fruits

I know it has been a while since my last recipe post, and for that I apologize.  I have been cooking and creating, I just haven't had time to write about it because I have been very busy editing photos for  Ginnie Coleman Photography, which is my other business!

I need to make sure I am at least posting one per week, so I promise I'll make more of an effort.  

Last night I was craving broccoli, but I wanted a bit of sweetness to so this is what I came up with.  The dried fruits I used for this were a perfect match!  This is also my standard roasting recipe.  You really can't beat roasted vegetables.  What makes them extraordinary is finding different combinations to enjoy.  Have fun and try something new today.

Roasted Broccoli with Dried Fruits

2 large heads broccoli
4 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. dried fruit mixture (figs, plums, and apricots), sliced into thin strips
1/4 c. sliced almonds
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees.  

Slice the broccoli stem off so the broccoli head has about 2 inches of stem on each one.  Then slice bigger florets in half or quarters lengthwise so they are all about the same size.  Place on a sheet pan and drizzle the oil with the broccoli, and then mix to make sure the broccoli is evenly coated with the oil.

Cook for 10 minutes.  Turn the broccoli and then put back in the oven.  Cook for an additional 6 minutes.  If the broccoli isn't al dente at this point, cook until it is before you proceed with the next step.  Add the dried fruits and almonds so they are evenly spaced, salt and pepper and return to the oven for another few minutes...just enough to heat the fruits. (They will hard to candy if you let it cook too long!)


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Spicy Garlicky Greens

This side dish is a power meal in itself.  Fresh greens with garlic and a little spice and you can't go wrong.  Plus, you won't feel guilty one little bit when you eat the whole pan.  Really.

Spicy Garlicky Greens

1 tbsp. ghee
1 tbsp. olive oil
24 cloves garlic
2-4 tsp. red pepper flakes depending on desired spice level
2 bunches kale, roughly chopped
2 bunches swiss chard, roughly chopped

In a large saute pan, melt ghee with the oil over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook until they are soft and golden brown.  Watch, and stir often, closely so they don't burn.  Remove the garlic and set aside to cool.

Add the greens, stirring to coat well with the oil mixture.  Add 1 c. water and cover.  Stir every few minutes and cook until the water is gone and the greens are tender (not mush!)

In a small bowl, press the garlic cloves, add the red pepper flakes, and 1/4 c. water.  Mix well and then add to the greens, stirring well.

Salt and pepper to taste.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Bacon Butternut Squash Soup

The other night I decided to adapt my regular butternut squash soup a bit.  I made more bacon than I needed (yeah, I am shocked too) so I decided that the smokey bacon would go perfect with the slightly sweet butternut I had sitting on my counter.

There really isn't any that bacon can't make better.

Bacon Butternut Squash Soup

1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. ghee
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into large cubes
8 ounces bacon, cooked and minced in a food processor.  (Set oil aside for use in this recipe.)
6 c. vegetable stock
1 tbsp. dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 ounces smoked Gouda, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large sheet pan, place all of the squash and coat well with the bacon grease.  Cook until the squash is tender, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

In a large dutch oven, heat 1/4 c. of the ghee over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until the onion starts to golden, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the butternut squash to the onion and stir well.  Add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer 20-30 minutes.  

About 15 minutes into simmering, add the thyme and stir well.

After the soup has simmered, use an immersion blender and blend until the soup is smooth.  You may need to add more stock to desired consistency.

Salt and pepper to taste and add the remaining 2 tbsp. ghee, stirring until melted and incorporated.

To serve, put the soup in a warmed bowl, add 2 tbsp. of cheese in the center, using a torch to melt and soften, and then add crumbled bacon.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Maple Espresso Sausage

I get why many of my friends enjoy coffee.  I used to like it too.  I haven't drank coffee in about 17 years, but I still use it in certain recipes.

Like chocolate.  Coffee in chocolate, even if it is the smallest amount, makes the flavor of the cocoa bean stand out.

I even have an venison recipe that I will be sharing soon that has coffee.

The other morning on a whim I decided to adapt my breakfast sausage recipe.  Um...delicious!  Just hint of the coffee flavor and the sweetness of the maple was perfection.  Really.

Maple Espresso Sausage

1 tsp. espresso salt
1 tsp. espresso powder
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. cardamom
4 tbsp. maple syrup
1 lb. ground pork

Mix all of the ingredients together .  Form into balls.

In a fry pan, preheat over medium.  Add four of the sausage balls and allow to cook for about 30 seconds to release some fat so they don't stick.  Slightly flatten and then cook until deep golden brown, about 5-7 minutes depending on how big you make them. Turn, flatten again slightly, and then cook until done.  

Medium heat works best and this method will yield the perfectly cooked sausage patty!